By Linda Hall • 25 August 2023 • 19:20
ZARZUELA VISIT: Spain’s King Felipe with presidential candidate Alberto Nuñez Feijoo
Photo credit: casareal.es
AS expected, King Felipe asked the Partido Popular (PP) candidate, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo to form a government following conversations with the leaders of most of the parties represented in the Spanish parliament.
The Catalan separatists ERC and Junts, the Basque EH-Bildu party and the Galician BNG excluded themselves as they do not accept Felipe VI as head of state.
Feijoo accepted what can only be regarded as a challenge as he needs an overall majority of at least 176 votes by the end of the two-day investiture debate.
Following consultations with Francina Armengol, the Speaker of the Spanish parliament, Feijoo said he would face assembled MPs on September 26 and 27.
“This date gives the candidate a more prudent length of time to carry out the necessary negotiations with the representatives from the different political parties,” Armengol said.
Patxi Lopez, spokesman for the PSOE parliamentary party was less than happy with the choice of dates, accusing the PP of using delaying tactics and using a strategy that would inevitably end in another election.
Whether or not Feijoo is resorting to delaying tactics, he will need all the time that Armengol referred to.
At most the PP can count on 172 votes from the party’s own 137 MPs, 33 from far-right Vox and another two from MPs representing small nationalist parties in the Canary Islands and Navarra,
Feijoo is so near, requiring just four more votes. But he is also still so far from the president’s Moncloa Palace residence. Unless he can conjure those four votes from thin air, he is unlikely to obtain them from ERC, Junts, EH-Bildu, the BNG or the PNV.
Having accepted the King’s assignment, the PP candidate has now begun his own round of talks.
Despite recent friction between the PP and their natural allies, Vox, their leader Santiago Abascal already confirmed during his own nterview with the King that the party would vote for Feijoo in an investiture debate.
But, aiming a warning shot across the PP’s bows, the part pointed out that it was not “logical” to vote for a party in an investiture debate when that same party refuses to allow Vox to enter the regional parliament in Murcia, which is on course for a September election.
Those Vox votes are vital as without them, the PP would have just 139 votes while the PSOE socialists and Sumar, the coalition of parties further to the Left, add up to 152.
Where will Feijoo seek those four votes?
The PP has been sounding out the centre-right Partido National Vasco (PNV) which has supported PP governments in the past but has already turned down Feijo’s overtures.
Feijoo announced that he will talk to all parties but draws the line at EH-Bildu, which was the political arm of the now extinct terrorist group, ETA.
But he does not rule out Junts whose antecedents were always centre-right as well as nationalist. “It is a party whose traditions and legality are not in doubt,” said the PP’s Institutional vice-secretary Esteban Gonzalez Pons.
We know now that Feijoo is ready to talk, but what we don’t know is who will be willing to listen to him .
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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